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Empower Struggle I'm a 23-year-old woman, working as a photographer's assistant while putting together my own portfolio. Last year, I met this amazing guy from London at a photo workshop. We talk on the phone daily, and he's visited me several times. Last night, he asked me to move to London and live with him. Although I've always dreamed of living there, I'm worried about giving up the ease and familiarity of my life, and wondering whether a relationship that's wonderful long distance will last in close quarters. And then, there's the bottom line: While I can work there (my father's British), the feminist in me says I shouldn't just pick up and move to be with a man.

--Seriously Tempted Sick


What, exactly, does the feminist in you think will happen if you go through with this? Let's see...you're getting off the plane in London, half excited/half scared to start your new life. There, in the waiting area, shoving past limo drivers and elbowing your boyfriend out of the way, are the anti Ab Fab: a scowling Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan, shaking "Traitor To The Cause" signs at you, and shouting, "Two, Four, Six, Eight, Whose Struggle Don't You Appreciate?!"

Just think of all the sacrifices they and countless others made, so you could, what...feel compelled to stay put instead of seizing the opportunity to live and work in an international city, and maybe have a little love in your life? Too bad you aren't a man. Nobody accuses a man of selling out if he crosses continents for love. Sure, the guys at the sports bar might be a little ticked at losing a drinking buddy, but they generally just ask if the girl has a nice rack and move on to the scores.

Yes, leave it to the women's movement to turn itself into something that keeps women from moving. It was supposed to be about sensible stuff like equal pay for equal work -- fantastic idea -- and giving everybody the vote. Then, a bunch of rad-fem loonies like Sheila Jeffreys (England's Andrea Dworkin) jumped into the fray: "When a woman reaches orgasm with a man, she is only collaborating with the patriarchal system, eroticizing her own oppression."

In other words, maybe the ism you need most right now is not feminism, but what-works-for-me-ism -- which appears to be moving to London and seeing more of this man. Maybe, like rock and roll photographer Sue Rynski, from Detroit but living in Paris for 19 years, you'll want to make London home. Maybe not. But, maybe you shouldn't wait until you're 45 and have five kids, three dogs, and a knocked-up hamster to figure that out.

Go. You can always come back. But keep in mind, the wisest relationship decisions are not based on a desire for cheap rent. Save money before you leave, stay with him just long enough to find your own place, and the two of you can just date -- which should prove much less romantically stressful than vaulting straight from time-zone-crossed lovers into Mr. Bloke and The Missus.

Sure, you're taking a chance in going -- just as you would be in staying home. After all, a replay of The Vagina Monologues could pop up on HBO at any moment, perhaps causing you to die of embarrassment at what a cartoon certain factions of feminism have become. Of course, maybe the mark of real progress is real women feeling perfectly comfortable living however and wherever they're happiest -- not a bunch of movie stars showing how comfortable they are getting up on stage and shrieking about their genitalia.

Posted by aalkon at October 18, 2005 1:12 PM

Comments

I love how you launch into an entire rant on feminism based upon a comment she made at the end of her letter Amy. I entirely agree with what you say about feminists. However, what I read in her comments about "the feminist in me", is not the about moving, but is the feminist dislike of males and the idea that a woman should not make any actions on behalf of us disgusting men. If you want to go, go. Don't worry about the fact that you are moving to a man, rather that it is an action that you want to do, and a descision that you are making. That's empowerment.

Posted by: Ranting Man at November 4, 2005 9:22 AM

"Feminism" IS "what-works-for-me-ism" despite the evil 'man-hating' myth Rush Linbaugh has spun.

Every relationship changes both people, so changing your life for a mate is not anti-feminist. (Putting yourself subordinate to him is.) Make sure you can take care of yourself if this doesn't work out, that's being a woman in control of her destiny, but don't refuse to ever be in a relationship just because you believe in equality.

(sadly, we egalitarians looked the other way and let the Rush Limbaughs of the world spin an inaccurate definition of feminism that scares everyone. Feminism, pure and simple, is self-determination and equality. Everything else is something else.)

Posted by: cosmicmojo at January 5, 2006 10:12 AM

Don't make a major move without a commitment. Even though you can legally work, what if you can't find it? What will you do about health insurance? Will you move into his apartment, or pick a place together? If you move into his, it will always feel like -his- apartment. Will you be on the lease? If things go bad, will you have a place to crash that isn't his?

I'd say go on an extended visit, first, before you move in with him. But seriously... it is one thing to make major changes for a husband. It's another to do it for someone you don't know is forever.

Posted by: Nicole at March 20, 2006 10:45 AM

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